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Relieves me from my task of servile toil,
Inferior to the vilest now become Daily in the common prison else enjoin'd me, Of map or worm; the vilest here excel me; Where I, a prisoner chain'd, scarce freely draw They creep, yet see; I, dark in light, expos'd The air imprison'd also, close and damp,
To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and wrong, Unwholesome draught: but here I feel amends, Within doors, or without, still as a fool, The breath of Heaven fresh blowing, pure and in power of others, never in my own; sweet
Scarce half I seem to live, dead more than half. With day-spring borr; here leave me to respire. O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon, This day a solemn feast the people hold
Irrecoverably dark, total eclipse To Dagon their sea-idol, and forbid
Without all hope of day! Laborious works; unwillingly this rest
O first created Beam, and thou great Word,
Why am I thus bereav'd thy prime decree?
Hid in her vacant interlunar cave.
Since light so necessary is to life,
She all in every part; why was the sight
And not, as feeling, through all parts diffus'd, His God-like presence, and from some great act
That she might look at will through every pore? Or benefit reveal'd to Abraham's race?
Then had I not been thus exil'd from light,
To live a life half dead, a living death,
But made hereby obnoxious more Lower than bond-slave! Promise was that I To all the miseries of life, Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver ; Life in captivity Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him Among inhuman foes. Eyeless in Gaza at the mill with slaves, , | But who are these for with joint pace I hear Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke:
The tread of many feet steering this way; Yet stay, let me pot rashly call in duubt
Perhaps my enemies, who come to stare Divine prediction; what if all foretold
At my affliction, and perhaps to insult, Had been fulfilld but through mine own default, | Their daily practice to afflict me more, Whom have I to complain of but myself?
(Enter) Chorus.. Who this high gift of strength committed to me, Chor. This, this is he; softly a while, Io what part lodgʻd, how easily bereft me, Let us not break in upon him: Under the seal of silence could not keep, O change beyond report, thought, or belief! But weakly to a woman must reveal it,
See how be lies at randoin, carelessly diffus'd, O'ercome with importunity and tears.
With languish'd head unpropt,
As one past hope, abandon'd,
O’er-worn and soil'd ;
withstand; Of highest dispensation, which herein
Who tore the lion, as the lion tears the kid; .
And, weaponless himself,
Of brazen shield and spear, the hammer'd cuirass,
When insupportably his foot advanc'd, Light, the prime work of God to me is extinct, In scorn of their proud arms and warlike tools, And all her various objects of delight (eas'd, Spurn'd them to death by troops. The bold Annulld, which might in part my grief have Ascalonite
Fled from his lionramp; old warriours turn'd | To a deceitful woman tell me, friends,
Immeasurable strength they might behold
This with the other should, at least, have pair'd, Then by main force pull'd up, and on his These two, proportion'd ill, drove me transverse. shoulders bore
Chor. Tax not divine disposal; wisest men The gates of Azza, post, and massy bar,
Have err'd, and by bad women been deceivid; Up to the hill by Hebron, seat of giants old, And shall again, pretend they ne'er so wise. No journey of a sabbath-day, and loaded so; Deject not then so overmuch thyself, Like whom the Gentiles feign to bear up Heaven. Who hast of sorrow thy full load besides : Which shall I first bewail,
Yet truth to say, I oft have heard men wonder Thy bondage or lost sight,
Why thou shouldst wed Philistian women rather Prison within prison .
Than of thine own tribe fairer, or as fair, Inseparably dark?
At least of thy own nation, and as noble. * Thou art become (О worst imprisonment!)
Sams. The first I saw at Timna, and she The dungeon of thyself; thy soul, (complain)
pleas'd (Which men enjoying sight oft without cause Me, not my parents, that I sought to wed Imprison'd now indeed,
The daughter of an infidel : they knew not In real qarkness of the body dwells,
That what I motion'd was of God; I knew Shut up from outward light
From intimate impulse, and therefore urgid "o incorporate with gloomy night;
The marriage on; that by occasion hence or inward light, alas!
I might begin Israel's deliverance, Puts forth no visual beam.
The work to which I was divinely call'd. O mirror of our ficklestate,
She proving false, the next I took to wife Since man on Earth unparallela!
(0 that I never had ! fond wish too late,) The rarer thy example stands,' .
Was in the vale of Sorec, Dahila, By how mych from the top of wonderous glory, That specious monster, my accomplish'd snare Strongest of mortal men,
I thought it lawful from my former act, . To lowest pitch of abject fortune thou art fallen. And the same end; still watching to oppress For him I reckon not in high estate
Israel's oppressors : of what now I suffer Whom long descent of birth,
She was not the prime cause, but I myself, Or the sphere of fortune, raises ; (mate, Who, vanquish'd with a peal of words, (0 But thee whose strength, while virtue was Iter
weakness!) Miglyt have subdued the Earth,
Gave up my fort of silence to a woman Universally crow'd with highest praises.
Chor, lo seeking just occasion to provoke Samsa I hear the sound of words; their sense The Philistine, thy country's enemy, the air
Thou never wast amiss, I bear thee witness: Dissolves unjointed ere it reach my ear.
Yet Israël still serves with all his sons. Chor. He speaks, let us draw nigh.-Matchs Samps. That fault I take noton me, but transfer Jess in might,
On Israel's governors and heads of tribes, Thé glory late of Israel, now the grief;
Who, seeing those great acts which God bad We come, thy friends and neighbours not un
done " known,
Singly by me against their conquerors From Eshtaol and Zora's fruitful vale,
Acknowledy'd not, or not at all consider'd, To visit or bewail thee; or, if better,
Deliverance otier'd : J on the other side Counsel or cousolation we may bring,
Us'd no ambition to commend my deeds; Salve to thy sores; apt words have power to swage The deeds themselves, though mute, spoke land The tumours of a troubled mind,
the doer: And are as balın to fester'd wounds.
But they persisted deaf, and would not seem Sanis. Your coming, friends, revives me; for To count them things worth notice, till at levgth I learn
Their lords the Philistines with gather'd pawers Now of my own experience, not by talk,
Enter'd Judea seeking me, who then How counterfeit a coin they are who friends Safe to the rock of Ethain was retir'd; Bear in their superscription, (of the most
Not flying, but fore-casting iu' what place I would be understood ;) in prosperous days To set upon them, what advantag'd best: "They swarm, but in advérse withdraw their head, Mean while the men of Indah, to prevent Nuk to be found, though sought. Ye see, o The harass of their land, beset me monud; friends,
I willingly on some cunditions came' How map evils have enclos'd me round; Into their hands, and they as gladly yield me Yet that thich was the worst now least afficts To the uncineumcis'd a welcome prey,
Bound with two cords; but cords to me were Blips ; fi nad I sight; corfus'd with shame,
[few Hror d' Ace look up or beave the head, Touch'd with the flame: on their whole host I W.! belt wolish pilot, hare shipwreok'd Unarm'd, and with a trivial weapon fella *. usted to me from above, i . Their choicest youth; tbey only livid who fled.
rigg'd; and for a word, a tear, Had Judah that day join'd, or one whole tribe, ze divulg'd the secret gift of God
\ They had by this possess'd the towers of Gatb,
And forded over them whom they now serve: As I suppose, towards your once gloried friend, But what more oft, in nations grown corrupt, My son, now captive, hither hath inform'd [age And by their vices brought to servitude,
Your younger feet, while mine cast hack with Than to love bondage more than liberty,
Came lagging after; say if he be here. Bondage with ease than strenuous liberty ;
Chor. As signal now in low dejected state, And to despise, or envy, or suspect
As erst in highest, behold him where he lies. Whom God hath of his special favour rais'd Man. O miserable change! is this the man," As their deliverer? if he aught begin,
That invincible Samson, far renown'd, How frequent to desert him, and at last
The dread of Israel's foes, who with a strength To heap ingratitude on worthiest deeds ?
Equivalent to angels walk'd their streets, Chor. Thy words to my remembrance bring None offering fight; who single combatant Hot Succoth and the fort of Penuel
Duell'd their armies rank'd in prond array, Their great deliverer contemn'd,
Himself an army, now unequal match The matchless Gideon, in pursuit
To save himself against a coward arm'd Of Madian and her vanquish'd kings:
At one spear's length. O ever-failing trust And how ingrateful Ephraim
In mortal strength! and oh! what not in man Had dealt with Jephtha, who by argument, Deceivable and vain ? Nay, what thing good Not worse than by his shield and spear,
Pray'd for, but often proves, our bane? Defended Israel from the Ammonite,
I pray'd for children, and thought barrendess. Had not his prowess quell’d their pride
In wedlock a reproach ; I gain'd a son, In that sore battle, when so many died
And such a son as all men hail'd me happy; Without reprieve, adjudg'd to death,
Who would be now a father in my stead ? . For want of well pronouncing Shibboleth.
Owherefore did God grant me my request, Sams. Of such examples add me to the roll; And as a blessing with such pomp adori'd ? Me easily indeed mine may neglect,
Why are his gifts desirable, to tempt But God's propos'd deliverance not so.
Our earnest prayers, then, given with solemn hand . Chor. Just are the ways of God,
As graces, draw a scorpion's tail behind ? And justifiable to men ;
For this did the angel twice descend ? for this Unless there be, who think not God at all : Ordain'd thy můrture holy, as of a plant If any be, they walk obscure; ;
Select, and sacred, glorious for a while, For of such doctrine never was there school, The miracle of men; then in an hour But the heart of the fool,
Ensnar'd, assaulted, overcome, led bound, And ng man therein doctor but himself.
Thy foe's derision, captive, poor, and blind, Yet more there be, who doubt his ways not into a dungeon thrust, to work with slaves? As to bis own ediets found contradicting, (just, | Alas! methinks whom God hath chosen once Then give the reins to wandering thought,
To worthiest deeds, if he through frailty err, Regardless of his glory's diminution;
He should not so o'erwhelm, and as a thrall Till by their own perplexities involv'd,
Subject him to so foul indignities, They ravel more, still dess resolvid,
Be it but for honour's sake of former deeds. But never find self-satisfying solution.
Sams. Appoint not heavenly disposition, father; · As if they would confine the Interminable, Nothing of all these evils hath befall'n me And tie him to his own prescript,
But justly; I myself have brought them on, . Who made our lays to bind us, not himself, Sole author I, sole cause : if augbt seem vile, And hath full right to exempt.
As vile hath been my folly, who have prophan'd Whom so it pleases bim by choice
The mystery of God given me under pledge From national obstriction, without taint
Of vow, and have betray'd it to a woman,
A Canaanite, my faithless enemy.
He would not else, who never wanted means, But warn'd by oft experience : did not she
Of Timna first betray me, and reveal To set bis people free,
The secret' wrested from me in her height Have prompted this heroic Nazarite,
Of nuptial love profess'd, carrying it straight , Against his vow of strictest purity,
To them who had corrupted her, my spies, To seek in marriage that fallacious bride, And rivals? In this other was there found Unelean, upchaste. . . .
More faith, who also in her prime of love, Down, reason, then ; at least vain reasonings, Spousal embraces, vitiated with gold, Though reason here aver,
[down; Though offer'd only, by the scent conceiv'd That moral verdict quits her of unclean :
Her spurious first-born, treason against me? Unchaste was subsequent., her stain not his. Thrice she assay'd with flattering prayers and . But see here comes thy reverend sire
sighs, With careful step, locks white as down,
And amorous reproaches, to win from me Old Mangah: advise se
My capital secret, in what part my strength Forthwith how thou ougbt'st to receive him. Lay stord, in what part summ’d, that she might
Samjis. Ay me! another inward grief, awak'd With mention of that name, renews the assault. Thrice I deluded her, and turn'd to sport
Her importunity, each time perceiving (Enter) Manvah.
How openly, and with what impudence Man. Brethren and men of Dan, for such ye Sbe purpos'd to betray me, and (which was worse seein,
Than undissembled hate) with what contempt Though in this ugcouth place; if old respect, She sought to make me traitor to myself;
Yet the fourth time, when, mustering all her | Dagon must stoop, and shall ere long receive wiles,
Such a discomfit, as shall quite despoil him With blandish'd parlies, feminine assaults, Of all these boasted trophies won on me, Tongue-batteries, she surceas'd not, day nor And with confusion blank bis worshippers. night,
Man. With cause this hope relieves thee, and To storm me over-watch'd, and wearied out,
these words At times when men seek most repose and rest, I as a prophecy receive; for God, I yielded, and unlock'd her all my heart,
Nothing more certain, will not long defer Who, with a grain of manhood well resolv’d,
To vindicate the glory of his name Might easily have shook off all her snares : Against all competition, nor will long But foul effeminacy held me yok'd
Endure it doubtful whether God be Lord, Her bond-slave; O indignity, o blot
Or Dagon. But for thee what shall be done? To honour and religion ! servile mind
Thou must not, in the mean while here forgot, Rewarded well with servile punishment !
Lie in this miserable loathsome plight, The base degree to which I now am fall'n, Neglected. I already have made way These rags, this grinding is not yet so base
To some Philistian lords, with whom to treat ; As was my former servitude, ignoble,
About thy ransom : well they may by this Unmanly, ignominious, infamous,
Have satisfied their utmost of revenge True slavery, and that blindness worse than this By pains and slaveries, worse than death, inflicted That saw not how degenerately I serv'd.
On thee, who now no more capst do tbem Mar. I cannot praise thy marriage-choices,
Sams. Spare that proposal, father ; spare the Rather approv'd them not; but thou didst plead Of that solicitation ; let me here, (trouble Divine impulsion prompting how thou might'st As I deserve, pay on my punishment; Find some occasion to infest our foes.
And expiate, if possible, my crime, I state not that; this I am sure, our foes
Shameful garrality. To have reveal'd Found soon occasion thereby to make thee Secrets of men, the secrets of a friend, .. Their captive,and their triumph; thou the sooner | How heinous had the fact been, how deserving Temptation found'st, or over-potent charms, Contempt and scorn of all, to be excluded To violate the sacred trust of silence
All friendship, and avoided as a blab, Deposited within thee; which to have kept The mark of fool set on his front? But I Tacit was in thy power: true; and thou bear'st God's counsel have not kept, his holy secret Enough, and more the burthen of that fault; Presumptuously bave publish'd, impiously, Bitterly hast thou paid, and still art paying, Weakly at least, and shamefully; a sin That rigid score. A worse thing yet remains; That Gentiles in their parables condemn This day the Philistines a popular feast
To their abyss and horrid pains confir'd. Here celebrate in Gaza; and proclain
Man. Be penitent, and for thy fault contrite; Great pomp, and sacrifices and praises loud, But act not in thy own affliction, son: To Dagon, as their god who hath deliver'd
Repent the sin; but, if the punishment Thee, Samson, bound and blind into their hands, Thou canst avoid, self-preservation bids; . Them out of thine, who slew'st them many a Or the execution leave to bigh disposal, slain.
And let another hand, not thine, exact So Dagon shall be magnified, and God,
Thy penal forfeit from thyself: perhaps Besides whom is no God, compar'd with idols, God will relent, and quit thee all bis debt; Disglorified, blasphem'd, and had in scorn Who ever more approves, and more accepts, By the idolatrous rout amidst their wine ; (Best pleas'd with bumble and filial submission) Which to have come to pass by means of thee, Him, who, imploring mercy, sues for life, Samson, of all thy sufferings think the heaviest, | Than who, self-rigorous, chooses death as due; Of all reproach the most with shame that ever Which argues over-just, and self-displeas'd Could have befall’n thee and thy father's house, For self-offence, more than for God offended.
Sams. Father, I do acknowledge and confess Reject not then what offer'd means; who knows That I this honour, I this pomp, have brought But God hath set before us, to return thee To Dagon, and advanc'd his praises high
Home to thy country and his sacred house, Among the heatben round: to God have brought Where thou mayst bring thy offerings, to avert Dishonour, obloquy, and op'd the mouths His further ire, with prayers and vows renew'd? Of idolists, and atheists; have brought scandal | Sams. His pardon I implore; but as for life, To Israel, diffidence of God, and doubt
To what end should I seek it? when in strength In feeble hearts, propense enough before
All mortals I excell'd, and great in hopes To waver, or fall off and join with idols;
With youthful courage, and magnanimous Which is my chief affliction, shame and sorrow,
(ploits The anguish of my soul, that suffers not
Of birth from Heaven foretold, and high exMine eye to harbour sleep, or thoughts to rest, Full of divine instinct, after some proof This only hope relieves me, that the strife
Of acts indeed heroic, far beyond
Twixt Gorl and Dagon; Dagon hath presum'd, Fearless of danger, like a petty god
I walk'd about admir'd of all, and dreaded
On hostile ground, none daring my affront. Before the God of Abraham. He, be sure, Then swoll'n with pride into the snare I fell Will not connive, or linger, thus provok’d, Of fair fallacious looks, venereal tra ns, But will arise, and his great name assert : Soften'd with pleasure and voluptuous life,
At length to lay my head and hallow'd pledge My race of glory run, and race of shame, i Of all my strength in the lascivious lap
And I shall shortly be with them that rest. Of a deceitful concubine, who shore me
Man. Believe not these suggestions, whicle Like a tame wether, all my precious fleece,
proceed Then tun'd me out ridiculous, despoil'd, From anguish of the mind and humours black, Shaven, and disarm'd among mine enemies. That mingle with thy fancy. I however
Chor. Desire of wine and all delicious drinks, Must not omit a father's timely care Which many a famous warrior overturns, To prosecute the means of thy deliverance Thou couldst repress ; nor did the dancing ruby By ransom, or how else : mean while be calm, . Sparkling, out pour'd, the flavour, or the sinell, And healing words from these thy friends admite Or taste that cheers the heart of gods or men,
[Exit.] Allure thee from the cool crystalline stream. Sams. O that torment should not be confin'd
Sams. Wherever fountain or fresh current to the body's wounds and sores,
And on ber purest spirits prey, Chor. O madness, tu think use of strongest As on entrails, joints, and limbs, wines
With answerable pains, but more intense,
As a lingering disease,
To black mortification. Against another object more enticing ?
Thoughts, my tormentors, arm'd with deadly
Exasperate, exulcerate, and raise
Nor breath of vernal air from snowy Alp.
Thence faintings, swoonings of despair, A burdenous drone ; to visitants a gaze,
And sense of Heaven's desertion. Or pitied object, these redundant locks
I was his mursling once, and choice delight, Robustious to no purpose clustering down, His destin'd from the womb, Vain monument of strength; till length of years Promis'd by heavenly message twice descending. And sedentary numbness craze my limbs
Under bis special eye To a contemptible old age ubscure ?
Absteminous I grew up, and thriv'd amain; Here rather let me drudge, and earn my brcad; He led me on to mightiest deeds, Till verinin, or the draff of servile food,
Above the nerve of mortal arm, Consume me, and oft.invocated death
Against the uncircumcis'd, our enemies : Hasten the welcome end of all my pains.
But now hath cast me off as never known, Man. Wilt thou then serve the Philistines with And to those cruel enemies, that gift
Whom I by his appointment had provok'd, Which was expressly given thee to annoy them? | Left me all helplers, with the irreparable loss Better at home lie bed-rid, not only idle,
Of sight, reserv'd alive to be repeated,
This one prayer yet remains, might I be heard,
In ancient and in modern books inrolid, His might continues in thee not for nought, Extolling patience as the truest fortitude; Nor shall his wonderous gifts be frustrate thus. And to the bearing well of all calamities, Sams. All otherwise to me my thoughts por All chances incidents to man's frail life, tend, (light, Consolatories writ
(sought That these dark orbs no more shall treat with With studied argument, and much persuasion Nor the other light of life continue long.
Leaient of grief and anxious thought : die But yield to double darkness nigh at hand : But with the afflicted in his pangs their sound So much I feel my genial spirits droop,
Little prevails, or rather seems a tune (plaint; My hopes all flat, Nature within me seems Harsh, and of dissonant mood from his comIn all her functions weary of herself;
Unless he feel within